Facebook + Education 

Facebook has been seen in many cases as dangerous or risky when mentioned in the same context as schools and education. We’ve all heard stories about Facebook-centered cyber bullying, inappropriate public posts by teachers or compromising photos that don’t do anyone any favours. These things alone encourage teachers and administrators to err on the side of caution and stay away from using Facebook as an educational tool altogether.

This needn’t be the case. With all common sense practices in mind, Facebook is a fantastic way to connect with targeted groups of people such as parents or fellow educators. Through creating a Facebook group, an administrator is able to control who is part of the group, who gets to see posts and who gets to contribute to the page. We set up a private Facebook group in our collaborative classroom a few years ago to connect with the parents within our class. It was hugely successful and something that I would encourage other teachers to have a go at. Parents had instant information at their fingertips about anything that was going on in our class through our posts. We were able to share photos, videos and web links of digital work our students had created to that targeted group. It allowed parents that wouldn’t normally participate in the classroom life of their children to engage from a safe distance. Many of these parents did not use email or computers, but had Facebook on their smart phones, allowing parents within the group to contact each other to foster friendships among their children, as well as contact their teachers quickly and easily. I firmly believe that the success of this form of communication was down to the fact that Facebook was a platform that parents were already using and were familiar with. They didn’t have to download and learn a new app, such as Seesaw or other such fabulous tools that are currently in use.

Since writing this original post in 2013, a lot has changed within my career, however my use of Facebook as a tool has only increased. I use Facebook to follow the pages of many talented educators from around the world and learn from their expertise. I am frequently inspired and amazed at the awesome things people are doing within their schools, and love sharing these ideas within my networks. It is so easy to find Facebook pages such as these. As a simple start, just type ‘teacher’ in the search field on your own Facebook page and see how many pages come up! Try using other key words. I have created a Facebook page called ‘Teachers of Multi-Age Classrooms’ in response to a clear deficiency of conversations, assistance and networking available for people working in classrooms catering to two or more year levels, as I was. It is a fantastic space to ask questions and share resources, and one that I intend to devote more time to this year.

Since becoming a school principal, I have found no better -or more cost efficient- method of promoting our school to the wider world, than our school Facebook page. Instead of a closed group, as we used for our classroom Facebook pages, we make all posts available to the public. Anyone that ‘likes’ our page gets a notification whenever I post something. Providing that parents provide permissions for me to responsibly post photos of their child or their work on Facebook, it is a fantastic way to show everyone the fabulous things we do, how wonderful our school is and what makes our school somewhere that people would want to send their children. I am able to demonstrate and promote our unique context at zero cost. I have had conversations with my school council and P&C about how I am intentionally using Facebook to promote our school and encourage enrolments, and asked that they like and share my posts to their networks to widen our impact. It is working! Our school’s reputation, purely through this positive exposure, is growing and we are a more visible presence within our district. I have seen many other schools do the same through the power of positive promotion on their own Facebook pages.

If you haven’t delved into Facebook as a tool within your work, give it a go! When mangaged responsibly, Facebook can work wonders for educators at all levels.

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Facebook + Education 

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